by Amy Oestreicher
There are certain stories that unite us all.
Through telling stories, we feel connection, and similarity. Oddly enough, we can also define and create our stories through our own uniqueness. No one else can write the story of our life – it’s what makes us unique, yet we all can relate to certain themes and feelings. When we tell our story, we are asking for attention from those we care about or wish to affect.
So, why are stories so important? It is incredibly important because sharing your story can change your life. They certainly changed mine.
Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher via www.amyoes.com
Telling our stories helps us process what happens in our lives. Through our shared experience, we can heal. It’s not the details that matter – suffering is relative. By sharing our stories, we can connect with others who feel the same way. We suddenly feel less alone in our ever-unfolding narrative.
You don’t have to be a book author, a storyteller, or a Chatty Cathy to tell your story. Here are seven ways to start sharing your story.
1.) Make a mantra
When the weather’s beautiful out, I love taking nature walks and reciting this mantra to myself:
Breathe in experience, breathe out your story.
Breathe in, and when you exhale, ask yourself what truth you are aching to express today.
Photo credit: Amy Oestreicher
2.) Read a children’s book
Does anyone remember the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk? The pages are simply filled with white splotches – clouds. It’s up to you to decide what shapes these “clouds” are taking. Children’s books make stories out of anything – even white splotches! There’s nothing like a kid’s book to get your mind thinking like a storyteller. Pick a good kiddie read and find the adventure in your own life.
3.) Write a line a day
This little book is the best investment I made. For me, the idea of “journaling” every day is daunting. Will I really have time to commit? This is a little journal where there’s literally only room for ONE line – and it’s for five years! It makes me a bit teary-eyed looking back on mine. I’m on “Year Four” already. If I go to the very first entry, it’s after a terrible surgery. The next year, I’m performing a one-woman musical about that terrible surgery. The next year, I met a guy online. The next year, I’m his wife!
I can’t recommend a “Line A Day” journal enough. It’s your story… in time-lapse mode!
4.) Find your story-song
What am I talking about? Have you ever heard a song on the radio that really resonated with you, or with a certain time in your life? Did one song remind you of a terrible break up, or your first kiss, or that party you just couldn’t stop dancing at? Today, find that song and share it. Tada! Story shared.
5.) Send a card – just because
Snail-mail. Remember that? I love sending cards because; well, they give me an excuse to write! With a pen?!. How old fashioned. Today, send a card to a friend, just because. Thank them for the impact they’ve made on your life – big or small. In doing so, you’ll share with them how they’ve become part of your story. Connections make our stories stronger!
6.) Be in the moment
You don’t always know you’re telling a story as you’re living it. If you center yourself in the present moment, a story may unfold right before your eyes!
Here’s the trick to being in the moment by way of a clever mantra: Awareness Without Judgment.
Notice every physical sensation in your body. Have a chat with what I like to call “My Five Superheroes“: taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. Think I’m crazy? I call them my “superheroes“ because they save me in the nick of time when I’m about to get lost in anxious thoughts. When I start worrying or pitying myself, I call on these rock stars before I can think one more thought.
Quick! At this very second, name the first thing you…
- Taste (it can be air!)
Just start with those five physical sensations, and watch your story take shape. You have a story within you. You just have to be present so you can hear it.
Simple, I know; however, speech is healing – and not always as easy as it seems. When we talk about what has happened in or lives, we use our voices to claim ownership over what has happened to us.
So, go on.. tell your story!
Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher
Why should you share your story?
The more stories we hear about turning an obstacle into an opportunity, the more empowered we are to transform our own lives and have confidence that when life actually does surprise us, we’re capable of getting through anything.
Think that no one can relate to your story?
That’s the beauty of a metaphor; through a larger vision, we can relate with our own unique stories. You never know who your story might affect, and that is the special super power of storytelling.
Everyone’s story is different, but we all can relate to emotions. If you’re human, you’ve felt sadness, hunger, pain, joy, and loss. It’s not the specifics that tug at our heartstrings, it’s how we overcome them. We share our dreams, fears, successes, and losses in order to create the triumphant stories that make up our world.
What story will you share today?
Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking.
As the creator of the Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman autobiographical musical, she’s toured theatres nationwide, along with a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses.
To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others thrive through difficulties.
As Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award, she’s contributed to over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, among others.
She has devised workshops for conferences nationwide, and is this year’s keynote speaker for the Hawaii Pacific Rim International Conference on Diversity and Disability. Learn more at amyoes.com and sign up for updates on My Beautiful Detour, he upcoming book.